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Daughter accused in 'house of horrors' case pleads guilty

McIntosh, first of 5 defendants to make a plea, could face life in prison and possibly death.

JEAN McINTOSH, daughter of alleged Philadelphia dungeon-master Linda Weston, has pleaded guilty in federal court to myriad crimes ranging from racketeering to forced human labor to kidnapping resulting in death.

She is one of five defendants charged in the criminal case of Weston, who allegedly lured vulnerable and mentally disabled victims to her home and kept them locked and starved in the basement while collecting their Social Security disability benefits.

The guilty plea was made quietly in court Monday, with both McIntosh's defense attorney and the federal prosecutors in the case declining to comment.

She pleaded guilty to racketeering, conspiracy, hate crimes, kidnapping that resulted in death, involuntary servitude, forced human labor, theft of government property, violent crimes, assault with dangerous weapons, and wire and mail fraud. She faces a maximum penalty of life in prison, or maybe the death penalty, a source close to the case said.

According to court documents, McIntosh and her mother targeted mentally disabled individuals who were estranged from their families and in need of help. In a scheme that spanned a decade, McIntosh allegedly helped Weston lure and trap these people in remote areas of the houses or apartments in which they were living, including locked bedrooms, basements, closets and attics. Sometimes, the victims were kept isolated in the dark, chained to water heaters or radiators and forced to sleep on exposed pink fiberglass insulation.

Conditions only escalated from there. According to court papers, some victims were forced to sleep in and drink their own urine and eat their own feces, resulting in illness that led to two deaths.

McIntosh "punished them by slapping, punching, kicking, stabbing, burning and hitting them with closed hands, belts, sticks, bats and hammers or other objects, including the butt of a pistol," the plea memo reads, describing the tortured existence of 10 adults and four children under Weston's watch.

McIntosh and her co-conspirators allegedly moved their victims from state to state to avoid detection by authorities, and when police discovered the captives in the Northeast Philly basement, they said it reeked of "death."

McIntosh, who used the aliases "Shay," "Jean Pierce" and "Laronda Smith," is the first defendant to plead guilty in the case. Her four co-defendants - Weston, Gregory Thomas Sr., Eddie Wright and Nicklaus Woodard - are awaiting trial. No trial date for any defendant has been set.